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Annabelle Nabors Buchanan
Chapter 3
: Grandma Nabors and Lottie

 

Grandma Nabors was born in Sweden, and at the age of fifteen, came to this country. She came with her father, two sisters, and brother.

She met my grandfather at a square dance where he was the Caller. It always seemed funny to me because I could not picture her at a dance.

They had three boys, Uncle Willie was the oldest, a cabinet maker Uncle Althea, a prominent dentist in Uniontown and my father.

Grandma Nabors brought my sister Lottie to our house many times through the early years. What a contrast there was between
the two ladies.

Grandma Beggs was fair, on the thin side, and Grandma Nabors had been a dark kind of beauty. She was a chubby little lady. I loved to hear her talk with the strong Swedish accent.

The two grandmothers could have long talks. They had so much in common. Each one caring for grandchildren in their twilight years. Now that I am a grandmother, I realize how special they were.

Lottie and I played for hours without a care in the world. She was fascinated by my carefree life. Our life-styles were much different. Hers was much more somber and strict. She loved to look at my clothes. As I got older, my clothes were more store-bought. One time, I had a new dress from the store. It was a brown rayon with yellow and orange half-moons on it and a zipper up the front. I told her she could pick a dress and keep it. Of course, she picked the new one. I had to keep my promise. When we went downstairs, my grandmother was so shocked when I announced that I had given Lottie that dress. For some reason, I always felt sorry for my sister. She did not seem to have much fun.

As soon as I was old enough, I would go to town on the bus and visit their house.

Uncle Willie lived with Grandma and Grandpa. He was deaf and did not join into any conversations. That seemed so sad. He did beautiful work with furniture though. He made Lottie a desk that I was always envious about. He was very good to her.

Grandma Nabors made lovely braided rugs and had many of them in the house. She had made them for years, and had years before sold them to put Uncle Althea through Dentistry School.

Uncle Althea had moved my Grandparents from their country home into town. He and his family remodeled their country home for his family.

Grandma always had to see my fingernails if they were polished. She would shake her head and in Swedish accent say “Oh, my goodness.” I could tell it was not approval. She also did not approve of my short dresses. On one occasion, I told Lottie to remove one of her petticoats, that no one wore two of them. She, in turn, informed Grandma of that fact. For some reason, I could always make her laugh and she would excuse whatever I did. After an enjoyable time, I would walk up town and take the bus back home.

Mamma would stay with us for a while in those days, and it was always great to have her there. She was strict with me and we laughed a lot. Then she would become restless, and say “I'm just going to town for a little while and will return on the 9:00 p.m. bus." I would sit on the swing and watch for her. I always wanted to believe she would return. One-time Uncle George was there, and said "Annabelle, she will not return, so quit watching." I became angry with him and felt he was unfair. Of course, he was right.

Because of Grandma being confined to a wheel chair, she had been moved downstairs to sleep. A bed had been placed in the comer of the dining room. One night when Mamma was gone, she called out to me that Mamma was returning. There was a heavy snow on the ground. I came downstairs in my flannel night gown and heard voices. She and a boyfriend were coming along the side of the house. They were both drunk. I opened the door, ordered him to leave and pulled her inside. I saw to it she was in bed on a cot in the room where Grandma slept. I had no sooner gotten to sleep when Grandma called out to me that the house was on fire. I rushed downstairs to find smoke coming from Mamma's side of the room. Her bed was on fire. I pulled her from the bed and onto the floor. I then took the mattress outside in the snow and put the fire out. I finally climbed back into bed.

After she would return from one of these escapades, I would not speak to her for a few days. I would be so disappointed and angry. None of the children at school ever mentioned my parents. During the years when there had been little items about my dad in the paper, I would hold my head very high and never let it show that I was bothered. I was never shunned for their behavior. Mainly, it was because my grandmother was so much loved by the community.

Grandma became much worse with illness. Judy White came very often and Mamma started doing remarkably well. Grandma would have to have shots for pain. Judy would shut the door to the room and tell jokes that would make Grandma laugh even though she was in pain.

I started to high school in Uniontown and had to take a bus. New friends were made and I loved the athletics. I attended all the football and basketball games.

In that period of time, I met a boy and puppy love consumed me. His name was George and I walked on a cloud when he wrote me notes. It turned out that he lived with his cousin who was a friend of mine. I started riding their bus home and we would all sing and have a great time. On one of those occasions, Uncle George had to come for me to go home. I really got a lecture from him and Mamma.

It was easy for me to talk my friend Hester into riding bikes out to Coolsprings about three miles from home, and watch George play baseball. I did not own a bike, so I borrowed one from the nurse, Judy White. On one of our little trips the brakes broke and when we were doing down a steep hill, I hit a moving car in the intersection. Of course, I was taken to the hospital. It was only broken ribs, but I was really lucky.

George sent me red roses, and I was almost glad it had happened. What a wonderful escape from all the troubles at home.

He would walk the three miles from his town to mine, and sometimes we only had a glimpse of each other.

Once when he came at night and Mamma had left, I let him come into the backyard and we were sitting on a bench. Just then Nanny and my sister Ruth came. I told George to run out through the back lot.

Later when Ruth and I had to walk to the store, we met George and a friend of his. Ruth, of course, wanted to know who he was. It was so dark, she could not see him too well. He told me he had torn his pants jumping the barbed wire fence at the rear of our property. Ruth had that to threaten me with the rest of the visit. Little did we know she would later in life marry him.

It was not too long after that my grandmother suffered a heavy stroke. She had a hard time talking and was confined to the bed from paralyzed limbs. She called me to her bed and managed to tell me "Annabelle, always be a good girl." Of course, I promised and then shortly after, she died. I was sent to bring Judy White. Later I watched as they took her from the house in a long basket.

Grandma’s funeral was at the Methodist Church that she loved so much. All the hymns that she had loved to hear were sung. All seven children and four step-children were there. A great lady had gone and the one who had loved me most was no longer there in my life.

However, she had given me enough to last a lifetime.

Uncle George and Sadie offered me a home with them. Mamma thought I should stay with her. I had another decision to make. It was not really very difficult. Grandma had told me to live with Aunt Carrie and Uncle Harry. So, when Aunt Carrie asked me if I wanted to live with them, my answer was Yes! Uncle George told me she would be mean, and I should reconsider. I felt the most important thing was to get my high school education.

Mamma was also offered a home with them. So, my mother and I both rode with them to our new home, and a new chapter in my life had begun.

Return to Table of Contents - Next: Chapter IV: My New Home 1939-1942

 

 

Copyright 1984 Annabelle Nabors Buchanan

Republished on Minerd.com with permission.  Reproduction forbidden without written consent of Minerd.com.